Decluttering is the process of intentionally arranging your living space and getting rid of unnecessary items. It helps create a more organized home. And because it also reduces waste and promotes more responsible consumer habits, it’s eco-friendly.
Decluttering has a range of benefits. In the ancient Chinese traditional practice of feng shui, positive and balanced energy flow inside your home is important. The more stuff you have lying around, the more you may experience a sense of chaos.
Decluttering can also:
- Enhance mental clarity. A clutter-free space may lead to a clutter-free mind. For some, less physical chaos reduces stress and anxiety.
- Increase productivity. Find what you need quickly with fewer distractions to interrupt your work or task. Focus better. Save time. Be more productive.
- Improve health. Clutter can contribute to the buildup of dust and allergens and poor air quality. Decluttering can prevent “pests”, reduce dust, mold and mildew.
Start small and don’t strive for perfection. The goal: only hang on to items that serve you now.
Don’t know where to begin?
Aren't using your things? Get them into the hands of people who will!
Reselling your clutter
Make sure to market high-quality and big-ticket items appropriately. Great, close-up photos are key to successful online transactions. Create a descriptive, enticing post. Be sure the stuff you’re selling is in season. Sell via VarageSale, Kijiji, Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace.
Organize a neighbourhood-wide garage sale or swap meet. It’s a way to socialize, build community and reduce waste. (Make it a block party!)
Donating your clutter
Donate what you don’t want or need to local organizations. Check with local community shelters and non-profit organizations to see if they will take specific items (e.g., toiletries, bedding, etc.).
Change your thinking
Bring less home. When you consume less, you waste less. You’ll save money. And focusing on life’s simple pleasures — spending time in nature, being with loved ones, making a difference to others — provides more purpose, belonging and happiness than buying and consuming.
In her book A Bunch of Pretty Things I Did Not Buy, Sarah Lazarovic’s “Buyerarchy of Needs” puts “use what you have” at the top. That’s followed by borrow, swap, thrift, make and finally buy.
Switch your thinking from “I want that. Where can I buy it?” to “Do I really need that?” and “Can I find it another way?” For instance, the Toronto Tool Library and the Vancouver Tool Library let people borrow items for a nominal annual membership fee. Seek items you can rent or borrow rather than buy — especially if you’ll only use them a few times.
Decluttering is about creating a harmonious and functional environment that supports your physical and mental wellbeing. Clearing space in our homes — and minds — feels great! It’s also better for the planet. Make it a routine and schedule seasonal cleanups, involving everyone you live with.
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